How to Play Sic Bo

Although Sic Bo is a very ancient game, it’s one of the least-known games in Western casinos. Many gamblers have never heard of it, let alone played it. So, there are relatively few gamblers who know its rules. If you’re keen to learn about this popular Chinese game, you can find out more here.

The History of Sic Bo

sic boSic Bo, which is pronounced See Bo, is a Chinese game with very ancient origins. Having been popular for centuries, it’s very similar to a European game called Grand Hazard. The rules of both games are virtually identical. Despite this, Sic Bo has only recently been added to Western casinos, although it can often be found in online casinos.
The words “Sic Bo” translate as “Dice Pair.” However, this is somewhat of a misnomer since the game is not played with two, but three dice that are shaken inside a container. Once the shaking has stopped and the dice have come to stop, a value will be shown. There are a few other names for Sic Bo, including Dai Siu (which means big/small) and Tai Sai (which means Lucky Dice).

The Basics of Sic Bo

The primary goal of this game is to correctly guess the value that will be shown when the three dice are shaken. Players put wagers on the table in a similar way to betting on roulette. Following all bets being placed, the dice will then be shaken, and the outcome determined. At first glance, a sic bo table might look complicated. In fact, if you ensure you are familiar with the game and the table before you play, you will be fine when you start to place wagers. Just practice a few times in a free-play casino first before placing your first real-money bet.

The Basics of Betting on Sic Bo

When playing Sic Bo, there are several bets from which punters can choose. Every bet offers a different cashout, which takes its basis from probability. And, just like roulette, there is no limit imposed on the number of bets players are permitted to make. The choice of bets is as follows:

Total

This is, by far, the simplest bet. When players go for this wager, they are betting on the total of the three dice. The range is between 4 and 17, with 18 and 3 being covered by Triple 6 and Triple 1. The payouts will always be displayed clearly on the board. As an example, if the dice total 4, the payout will be about 60:1, while a total of 11 or 10 cashes out at 6:1.

Small and Big

sic bo bet

Another betting option is to bet on the dice total being either Big (in the range of 11 to 17) or Small (in the range of 4 to 10). When betting on Big and Small, the payout is 1:1. Basically, it is the equivalent of betting black/red in roulette – an even-chance bet. This is a great low-risk choice for players who want to limit their risk but maximize their chance of winning. One thing to be aware of when betting Big and Small is both bets will lose if a triple appears. Therefore, 18 and 3 will never be included in a Big and Small bet. Think of this “triple rule” as being like the zero when playing roulette. It ensures 50:50 bets are just under an even chance so the house edge remains in favor of the casino.

Combination

A combination bet involves wagering on any two specific numbers that show on the three dice. You could, for example, bet on the combination of 6 and 4, and you would be a winner if the three dice showed 6, 4, and 3. Payouts on combination bets are 6:1, no matter the combination you choose. This is different to the payouts on total bets, which pay a different amount depending on the total that appears. A combination bet is a medium-risk strategy.

Single

If a punter places a single bet, he or she is betting a specific number is going to appear on one of the dice. The cashout will depend on the number of times that number appears on the three dice. For example, if the number is on just one die, you will be paid at 1:1. If it appears on two dice, you’re paid at 2:1, and should it appear on all three, you’ll be paid at 12:1.

Double

A double bet is like a single except you are betting that two of a number is going to appear on the three dice. So, if you bet, for example, on a double 3, you would be a winner if the three dice show 6, 2, and 2. It’s possible to wager on any two matching numbers between 1 and 6, and payouts are always at 10:1. Unlike triple bets, however, you cannot wager on any double. Players are required to choose a specific number pair, although it’s possible to bet on multiple doubles, as well as any other bets.

Triple

When a player chooses a triple bet, he or she is betting all the dice will land on the same number. It’s possible to either bet on any triple appearing, or, alternatively, a specific triple that could be any number between 1 and 6. Payouts are either 30:1 for any triple, or an enormous 180:1 on specific triples. This makes it by far the largest payout possible in the game, and certainly a bigger payout than 35:1, which is the amount awarded for betting on one number when playing roulette! Unfortunately, the odds against a specific triple turning up on the dice is 216:1, which aren’t great! However, if you’re a high roller who is keen to risk it all, it could be an attractive option!

Strategies for Sic Bo

The key to a good Sic Bo strategy is to manage and limit your long-term losses. For beginners, a low-risk big-and-small strategy is the best option, although it may get a little dull in the long run. However, it is very good for practicing and becoming familiar with the gameplay. Once you’re ready to progress to the next level, you should try a more balanced strategy. The numbers that offer the best chances of winning are 12 and 9 since their payouts are close to their probabilities. Place your wager on a chosen total. Then, combine that bet with another three double bets. Always choose doubles that could win if the total you have chosen loses. If you decide to bet on 9, wager three units on 9 as a total and then two units on the doubles 6, 5, and 1. If the 9 wins, you’ll get 21 units back. If one of your doubles wins, you’ll get 22 units. If you decide to bet on 12, wager three units on 12 as the total and, then, two units on the doubles 6, 2, and 1. Again, you will receive 21 units should your total of 12 win, and 22 units should one of your doubles win.

Although the Sic Bo board may appear to be complex, it’s actually a very simple game to learn and involves no learning curve or skill. That makes it much easier to bet on than many other casino games. Once you are familiar with its rules and gameplay, you’re sure to find it is rewarding and fun to play.

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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.